Inside Utah Mommy YouTuber Ruby Franke’s horrific child abuse revealed in her diary
Inside Utah Mommy YouTuber Ruby Franke’s horrific child abuse revealed in her diary

On her popular and sometimes controversial YouTube channel, Ruby Franke meticulously documents family life with her husband and six children for millions of followers. But newly released handwritten diaries reveal that the Utah mom blogger also obsessively documented months of excruciating abuse she inflicted on her two young children, who she believed were “possessed” by the devil.

“I will not feed a demon,” Franke wrote in a July post about his 12-year-old son.

Prosecutors allege that in addition to starving their children, Franke and her business partner shaved the children’s heads, subjected them to manual labor in the desert heat while barefoot, doused them in dirty water, forced them to sit against the wall for hours and denied them beds to sleep on.

“If you can engage a weak-minded soul in the physical activity of obedience, you can begin to break the bond that Satan has made with the weak,” Franke wrote in one journal entry.

In another entry, Franke wrote how she shaved her son’s head after he refused to do more “work” and started crying. The next day, she wrote, the child tried to run away. “I said [him] that it imitates a snake. He slithers and slinks around looking for opportunities when no one is looking,” the July 10 entry said.

Franke went on to attack her son, writing that he was a “compulsive liar” and admitting that she would “never suspect the cold, dead heart [he] there is.” In an entry the next day, she wrote that it was a “big day for evil”, before describing how she pushed her son into a pool – while holding his nose and mouth – to help him.

In other posts, Franke described her 10-year-old daughter as “manipulative” and how she forced her to stand in the rain for hours. She also wrote that she “doused” the little girl with “dog wash” water because she complained that she hadn’t eaten in days.

The abuse is among several new details revealed in the trove of records released by the Washington County District Attorney’s Office on Friday. The records also include police reports, crime scene video, interrogation tapes, and body camera footage that shows the child abuse investigation.

The heavily redacted diary entries include a timeline of the abuse as well as Franke’s escalating dive into a renegade sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“The investigation determined that religious extremism motivated Ms. Franke and Ms. Hildebrand to commit this horrific abuse,” prosecutors said in a statement Friday. “The women seem to fully believe that the violence they inflicted is necessary to teach the children how to properly repent of imagined ‘sins’ and cast evil spirits from their bodies.”

Franke, a 41-year-old mother of six, known for her YouTube channel 8 passengers, was sentenced to at least four years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of second-degree child abuse. Her business partner, mental health counselor Jody Hildebrand, 54, was also sentenced to the same prison term for his role.

At the sentencing, Franke apologized to her children and said she was “disoriented” because she “believes dark is light and right is wrong.” “For the past four years, I have chosen to follow advice and guidance that has led me astray,” Franke added. “My warped version of reality went largely unchecked as I would isolate myself from anyone who challenged me.”

Franke’s investigation began in August after her malnourished and injured 12-year-old son escaped through a window and knocked on nearby homes until a neighbor answered. The boy then asked his neighbor to take him to the nearest police station.

In a video, the boy is asked about the open wounds and lacerations on his ankles and wrists, which he says he received “because of me.” The boy later told investigators that Hildebrand tied his hands and feet to weights on the ground and used a mixture of honey and cayenne pepper on his wounds.

Authorities later found Franke’s daughter in an empty closet. Body camera footage shows police spending four hours trying to get the little girl out of the closet by offering to sit with him, bringing him pizza and playing music.

After her arrest, Franke’s husband, Kevin, filed for divorce. In a police interview, he explained that he did not know what was happening to his youngest children because he separated from Franke in July 2022 and moved out.

“Everything you’re telling me just sounds like a made up story, like I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Kevin Franke said in the police interview. “Sounds like a horror movie.”

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